Archive for September, 2010

v290 In Spirit and in Truth

In Spirit AND in Truth

There is this grievous attitude set against structure and rules, even the very commandments of God through His Spirit, that quickly and unashamedly rejects Truth under the label of works. Any and everything that smacks of your duty or required performance is summarily dismissed.

In much the same way, American society has decided that authority is corrupt and greedy and has thrown off the yoke of its submission to those who are set over them. Just as a child in their immaturity will not understand the higher and wiser decisions of their parent but selfishly wants what it wants and becomes bitter toward the parent who withholds what they can easily grant or give, so do adults, even Christians, justify their non-performance of the Word and its precepts when viewed as restrictive and self-denying.

All these are expressions of self-centered, brewed-in-rebellion mechanisms to accomplish my will at the expense of God’s. We find justification for breaking the tie that binds. We wriggle and squirm to get out from under the hand of another’s God given and expressed will and protection for us and great harm is done and thereby given access to us.

The greater church has slipped into a demonic mindset and refuses to live by “the rules” by conveniently labeling them works. In this sense, every command of Christ could be labeled a rule, every admonition and principle that was passed to us through the sacred canon of scriptures, and every expression of will of our God-appointed and delegated authority could be shrugged off without cost to conscience.

No, a thousand times no! God is a God of order. It is only by alignment according to “the rules” that order emerges and benefits us. Without rules, without commands, without self-denials we only have chaos—the stuff Hell is made of. In chaos, power through will rules. You want to talk about oppression, think of the cruelest and most vengeful master who can dominate you at will. The only reason that does not happen now is because he has “rules” that govern him.

When you encounter a rule, or command or directive, your only question should be whether it is for your greater good, which by the way, almost always conflicts with your wants, requiring by its nature the application of self-restraint, self-government and self-denial. Truth has a way of doing that; not yielding right of way to anything. It just stands there immovable and unamused at the things that press against it. It stands for all time. Heaven and earth shall pass away but My Word (i.e. My Rule) stands forever.

What you need to determine when pressed to do a thing that you don’t want is – does it align with God’s precepts and laws- His Truth?

We have the grace thing down pat. We too often use it as license to do our own will. Shall grace increase, that sin may increase? By no means! But in most cases it has. We presume too much on grace. It was never meant to cover willful sin.

What the Church needs to do is have a grand opening. It needs to open its doors to Truth and allow Him to visit once again, no matter even if He just stands there and does not move when we throw our man-made ideas and reasonings at Him. Truth must be welcomed at the churchhouse.

“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24.

v289 Graduation By Degrees

Graduation By Degrees

We are all in the school of the Holy Spirit unless we have grieved Him by skipping classes and are playing the truant. God is orchestrating your lessons to One.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Rom. 8:28.

God is very resourceful in the bringing up of sons. Everything and everyone is employed at the University of God for this purpose.

Take time and ask your Father in each lesson, “What are you teaching me?”, “What are you saying?”, “What are you showing me?”, “What do you want me to do?”, “What do you want me to be?”

The answer comes — “My Son.”

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” John 1:12.

“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Eph. 4:30.

Listen v4.7 The Two Shall Become One

The Two Shall Become One

There is this recurring theme of becoming one, joining two in a way that the individuality of the two (not personality) is lost and consumed in the union. Oswald Chambers, (perhaps my favorite author), says that individuality—self-assertiveness of my identity—is the husk of the Believer; while personality—our personal identity as we have been created in Christ—is the kernel, our Being in Him.

I will put it this way: The tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil took the pure and perfect personality of man and wrapped him into a husk of personal ambition and self-assertiveness—his individuality. Now there is a veil between who we Are, created in Christ, and Christ Himself. The two are divided by this husk that we willingly and recklessly put on ourselves. We must remove it and Christ is that Helper who will do it when we are willing to undergo the surgery of denial and ultimately the death of Self.

We are uniquely formed from the dust of the earth. God breathed His Spirit into the dust of the earth and we became a living soul. The soul, the particular expression that is You, is the unique combination of the Spirit of God and the particular dust You are made of. The thing that is notable about the dust we are made of is that the complex of dust which is me is distinct from the complex of dust which makes you. Dust being material and temporal is differentiated from other dust. Or as the scientists say it, matter can only occupy one space at one time, it has a fixed presence and a fixed capacity.

That I am I and you are you is indisputable and undeniable. Yet we were not created to be individual (i.e. self-assertive) but to become One in Him through the free-will sacrifice and moral decision to yield Self to Him. We are not robots in the sense that we can choose whether we want to be in Christ or separated from Him. That choice as determined in Time is Eternally sealed by Death. Will you live to Self and die to Christ? Or will you die to Self and live to Him? Those that are His, give themSelves, (their rights of Self) up for Him. Those that are not His assert their own rights above Him and never gain Him. It is in dying that we gain Him. It is in living to Self that we lose Him.

Here is the daily arena and battleground—the mind—where the outcome is played out—that outcome being stated—whose will shall be done?. Who will I submit to? In the Garden (pre Fall) we walked with God in the cool of the day. That is another way of saying we were united and One with Him in our will and mind and desires and at Peace with that arrangement. God gave us a will, the power to assert our Self, to see what was in our heart, or more accurately so we could see what was in our heart, our desire. The mind was to act as judge between the power to act—our will, and the desire to possess—our heart. Without temptation you would never see your own heart, its capacity (apart from Christ in you) to be desperately wicked. God created you to be dependent upon Him because He knows that you need Him. But do you know it? Not initially. It takes Time to realize it.

In the Garden, we were at Peace in our will and our heart because we had judged that this was Good. We had a mind, yet it was unchallenged in its thinking. Satan gave us an option. He dangled the shiny bauble in front of us and said, “You have rights that you can assert.” You can choose for your Self. And we did. We failed to trust our Father and instead resorted to Self’s assertion of rights and our perceived fear of loss, exercising both a newly found independent will and a hitherto foreign desire of our heart. We took the bait—hook, line and sinker as it were.

In this transaction, which had definite eternal consequences, we inverted God’s design. We were and are spiritual, being made like Him, we have a soul, that ability to express desire, and will and judgment, and we live in a body. Now that we have, by an act of our will, given our life over to Self by succumbing to his will, we have made him master. We are in a place that we were never designed to be. Dead, separated from Him, by a choice to give our will and power over to Self. Now, we must make the decision based on faith in Him, by His Word and His Spirit, to deny Self and take back what we once willingly gave up. God has sent Christ to break the chains and release us to do this. We must do it experimentally, in practice. Not only by revelation are we saved but in the working out of that salvation in this body, on this earth in actuality by the yielding of our will back to Him. It is in that act that we correct the misalignment of Sin and become One once again. We reattach to God by realigning under authority, both immediate (by delegation) and Supreme.

This is the two that must become One. God has revealed His Will by His Word. We who have exercised faith have received it by revelation. Now we must put it to practice. These two are the Bridegroom and the Bride. These two are the Word and the Flesh. These two are Male (husband) and Female (wife). These two are the Spirit and the Soul. Even our Revelation and Practice must become one. We must be who we are revealed to be in Christ. We must manifest in Reality.

In each case, note that the First is the intended Head and Authority of the Second. Yet in each case, (in most all situations) we have allowed the Second to become the First. The Bride, the church, is not submitted to the Bridegroom; the Flesh is not submitted to the Word; the wife is not submitted to the husband; and most tellingly, the Soul is not submitted to the Spirit. We have a serious problem with submission. We have a serious problem dying to Self. We have a serious problem which is division, rugged and rampant individualism.

The Lion (Self) must lie down with the Lamb (Christ). The two must become One. When the will of the Second is submitted to the will of the First, Oneness can be achieved as designed by God. Then there is Peace. We can once again walk with God in the cool of the day.

Quote Title Quotation Source
A God of Love or A God of Wrath? Yes This was exactly one of the paradoxes in which sceptics found the creed wrong; and in this I had found it right. Madly as Christians might love the martyr or hate the suicide, they never felt these passions more madly that I had felt them long before I dreamed of Christianity. Then the most difficult and interesting part of the mental process opened, and I began to trace this idea darkly through all the enormous thoughts of our theology. The idea was that which I had outlined touching the optimist and the pessimist; that we want not an amalgam or compromise, but both things at the top of their energy; love and wrath both burning. G. K. Chesterton – Orthodoxy, copyright 1908 by Dodd, Mead and Company
Via Dolorosa There are times when everything in life seems to be a trial. Sometimes there is only suffering. Still, the heaviest cross must be carried in peace. Sometimes the cross must be carried or dragged. Then you can only fall down beneath it, overwhelmed and exhausted. I pray that God may spare you from suffering as much as possible. Fenelon – The Seeking Heart, circa 1690, copyright Christian Books Publishing House
Walking By Love vs. Walking in Fear Seeing, then, that sin has no place here, there can be no anguish of conscience, no fear, no heaviness. That is why St. John says, Anyone born of God does not continue to sin (1 John 5:18). But if there is any fear or grief of conscience, it is a sign that this righteousness has been withdrawn, that grace is hidden, and that Christ is darkened and out of sight. But where Christ is truly visible, there must be full and perfect joy in the Lord, and the conscience is at peace and thinks, Although I am a sinner by the law and under the condemnation of the law, I still do not despair and do not die, because Christ lives, and he is my righteousness and my everlasting life. In that righteousness and life I have no sin, no fear, no string of conscience, no worry about death. I am indeed a sinner, as far as this present life and righteousness are concerned, as I am a child of Adam; where the law accuses me, death reigns over me and wants to ultimately devour me. But I have another righteousness and life above this life Christ the Son of God, who knows no sin or death but is righteousness and eternal life. By him, this body of mine that is dead will be raised up again and delivered from the bondage of the law and sin and will be sanctified together with my spirit. Martin Luther – Commentary on Galatians – circa 1520; Crossway Publishing © 1998 by Watermark
Reality is Not Bound By Logic or Reason The theological view ought to be constantly examined; If we put it in the place of God we become invincibly ignorant, that is, we won t accept any other point of view, and the invincible ignorance of fanaticism leads to delusions for which we alone are to blame. The fundamental things are not the things which can be proved logically in practical life. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
The Nursery Business is Booming What then are the reasons for not growing? Perhaps there are two. On the one hand, it may be due to the negligence of those who, watching over the souls of the younger believers, may only speak to them of the grace of God and of their position in Christ but neglect to encourage them to seek spiritual experience. (Nay those who watch over others may themselves be ignorant of life in the Spirit. How then could such ones ever lead others into more abundant life?) On the other hand, it may be because the believers themselves are not keen on spiritual affairs. Either they assume that it is sufficient enough merely to be saved or they have no spiritual appetite or they simply are unwilling to pay the price for advancement. As a deplorable consequence the church is over-stuffed with big babes. Watchman Nee – The Spiritual Man, circa 1920, copyright 1968 Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc.
Finding and Remaining in The Zone Pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). Pay strict attention to your heart and watch over it, so that it does not give admittance to thoughts that are evil or in any way vain and useless. Without interruption, whether asleep or awake, eating, drinking, or in company, let your heart inwardly and mentally at times be meditating on the psalms, at other times be repeating the prayer, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me. And when you chant, make sure that your mouth is not saying one thing while your mind is thinking about another. Philimon – The Philokalia, Discourses on Abba Philimon – circa 600; excerpted from The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGuinn copyright 2006 by Random House, Inc.
Prayer – A Symphony with Love The highest promises made to prayer are made to those who agree or, as the Greek more beautifully expresses it, symphonize on earth. There is no place where we can love our friends so beautifully or so purely as at the throne of grace. There is no exercise in which the differences of Christians melt away as when their hearts meet together in the unity of prayer, and there is no remedy for the divisions of Christianity but to come closer to the Father, and then, being together at the throne, we shall be closer to each other. A. B. Simpson – The Life of Prayer – circa 1890, © 2007 Bridge-Logos
A Matter of The Heart not the Hands The goal of true Discipleship is not concerned with what a Christian should do but Who Jesus Christ is. We are not to seek to imitate what He did but to have that Divine Disposition that was behind all that He did. It’s not about doing, it’s about being. Christ must be the center of your life as God the Father was the center of His. Here is the Disposition of Jesus Christ in you, which, as a disciple must work out so that the Word may become Flesh in them; loving, seeking, depending, trusting, following, seeing, hearing, yielding, hoping, knowing, waiting, going, sharing, giving, sacrificing, suffering, dying — in all things — to and for Christ and His Kingdom and His Glory. Never me, always You. Tom Van Hoogen

Listen v4.6 Looking Unto Jesus

Looking Unto Jesus

The church is fallen and it can’t get up. This is not the first time either. Don’t for a minute think that Judaism was a false religion. No, it became one. Don’t for a minute think that Catholicism was a false religion. No, it became one. Don’t for a minute think that Protestantism is a false religion. No, it is just quickly becoming one. No more than we should think that Adam was a sinner. No, he became one. They have each fallen in their time to the wiles and temptation of the evil one and the lusting of their own heart. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 1 Cor. 10:12.

You see each of us begins our Christian life and walk in sincere desire to please God and do His will. But Satan is crafty and patient. He watches and waits and plots and schemes. Now don’t console yourself if and when you have fallen that the devil made you do it. He never made anyone do anything that was not already in their heart to do. He just gave the opportunity, motivation and encouragement you needed to launch out in the lust that was already there in your heart. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” James 1:13-14.

Even this is from God, Who uses what the evil one meant for bad for His own good. You see, once we begin to walk with God we are tempted by the “pi” as Oswald Chambers calls it (i.e. short for piety). We begin to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. We take the eyeballs that God so miraculously pointed outwards when He healed our blindness, and begin to turn them back in on ourselves again. Believe me I know this for a fact by experience. Once we do that we do not see ourselves rightly. We must always keep our eyes on Him with Whom we have to do. If we see Him, then we see ourselves correctly.

So here is the vicious cycle. We are brought by God’s Holy Spirit to see our own depravity of heart and need of a Savior. In the crisis of that moment we cry out to God, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.” And God hears that cry and responds with mercy through Redemption. In that moment we touched Truth and Eternity when we saw and believed that we need Him and are dependent upon Him alone for Life and Forgiveness.

All the pent up blessings of heaven and Redemption are then uploaded into you in the person of Christ by His Holy Spirit. And what a package it is. Well, lets just say its His Indescribable Gift. He gives you Himself as a deposit and guarantee that He will complete that which He started in you. Now that is something to consider. And consider we do. At first we consider how wonderful He is to do such a thing for me, a mutinous and rebellious traitor to Him. At first it seems too good to be true, we even struggle with believing all of it.

Then by and by we learn about God’s riches in Christ Jesus and His plan and super-abounding love and grace toward us. We begin to feel pretty good about all that He has done for us. But here comes Satan to bring out what is in your (and my) heart. He begins to help you see how wonderful you are. After all you made the decision to follow Christ while all of these have not. They continue in their sins hardly even caring about God even hurling blasphemous insults and profanities toward Him. They are not like you. You do not do that. You are good and a Christian. And before you know it you are eating every lie right out of his hand.

You quit checking those thoughts of self-congratulations and self-righteousness at the Mind of Christ and they begin to flow freely right in the mind, puffing and inflating Self.

The same thing happens to churches, organized bodies. They begin in earnest upon the revelation that God has given them. Then often begins the us and them condition that is rampant and definitive of denominationalism. We think of what “we” believe versus what “they” believe. We begin to brand our style of Christianity as right and theirs as flawed in some way and inferior. It is all so easy to do, because in our heart we still want to think ourselves good, especially now that God has recognized us and set us apart for Himself. Every man actually wants to believe that he is good. There is an amazing temptation to do that.

Lets settle this right here and now. There is none good, not one. That is not a joke or a lie. It is the truth right from the mouth of God. The only good you will ever have or be is the Good of God that lives in you through His Spirit. It is His Good, not yours. He gets all the Glory. Period. And the fact is that if you are not walking with Him in the Spirit in total dependence upon Him, then it is you who is doing all that you do, not Him. And you righteousness is as filthy rags. Even after you are saved. That which is born of the flesh (i.e. your stinking self-works) is flesh. And that which is born of the Spirit (i.e. good works done in dependence upon Him) is spirit.

Once we take our eyes off God and turn them back on our own righteousness by works, we are flying solo, operating apart from the Spirit, carnally. For the Spirit and flesh are contrary one to the other. You see we have the keys to let Flesh rule in our hearts or the Spirit. It is a matter of will and thus the heart. You must determine to not obey the desires of the flesh but to obey God by His Spirit in you. You must decide with a dogged self-denying yieldedness that you do not want your will to be done but His.

And this is exactly how the chruch is fallen. It does not look to God and Christ as its Lover and Head. The modern church has for the most part turned its eyeballs inward to focus and admire Her own beauty. In Her narcissism she has separated herself not only from others but Him as well. She cannot and will not leave from gazing into the pool of her reflection. She is so in love with herself that she is even blinded to Him. It feels so good to be desired and sought that she has lost her desire for Him and left off seeking Him.

Good works (e.g. religion) is, and forever will be, the stumbling block to Relationship with Him. It is a perversion to want to be like Him by doing good works of the flesh which rob Him of His glory. Rather, you must seek Him with a strong desire to Love Him and depend upon Him just as a child desires their father and depends upon him, then you will be like your Father. Don’t look into the mirror admiring your Self. Look unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our Faith. If you find that you have been looking into the mirror, you must turn—repent from your own good works—and return to Him.

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1 Cor. 13:12.

Quote Title Quotation Source
Unfinished Life is an Abortion 1 Corinthians 3:1 divides Christians into two classifications. They are the spiritual and the carnal. A spiritual Christian is one in whom the Holy Spirit dwells in his spirit and controls his entire being. What is meant then by being carnal? The Bible employs the word “flesh” to describe the life and value of an un-regenerated man. It comprises everything which issues from his sinful soul and body. A carnal Christian, therefore, is one who’s spirit has been quickened, but who still follows his soul and body into sin. If a Christian remains in a carnal condition long after experiencing new birth, he hinders God’s salvation from realizing its full potential and manifestation. Watchman Nee – The Spiritual Man, circa 1920, copyright 1968 Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc.
A Life of Blazing Glory How seldom Christians recognize the glory of a life of complete consecration to be spent always in fellowship with God! Andrew Murray – The Blood of Christ © 1935
The Power of Loving Obedience The two trees in the Garden of Eden present choices. Man (Adam) chose The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and thus entered sin. Had he not chosen that tree there would not be sin and the need for the Cross and Redemption. Yet not disobeying is not the same as obedience. We must choose the Tree of Life (i.e. Christ). Being without sin only makes us children of God. Obedience makes us sons, representatives of Him. Tom Van Hoogen
Your Just Desserts? The people are never exonerated for having bad rulers; the reason they have bad rulers is that they are bad people. Those who rule the people do not autocratically crush them, the people are their inspirers; they are the rulers the people deserve. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
The Shoe On the Other Foot Reality is to be sought not in division but in unity, for we are members one of another. The man who lives in division is not a person but only an individual.
I have what you have not. I am what you are not. I have taken what you have failed to take and I have seized what you could never get. Therefore you suffer and I am happy, you are despised and I am praised, you die and I live; you are nothing and I am something, and I am all the more something because you are nothing. And thus I spend my life admiring the distance between you and me; at times this even helps me to forget the other men who have what I have not and who have taken what I was too slow to take and who have seized what was beyond my reach, who are praised as I cannot be praised and who live on my death… The man who lives in division is living in death. He cannot find himself because he is lost; he has ceased to be a reality.
Thomas Merton – New Seeds of Contemplation, ©1961 by the Abbey of Gethsemani, Inc.
Approach Quietly and Patiently The interior life, that is, the inward life of the spirit, is not a place that is taken by storm or violence. That inward kingdom, that realm within you, is a place of peace. It can only be gained by love. Jeanne Guyon – Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ, circa 1680
Band of Brothers And that also clarifies the goal of all Christian community: they meet one another as bringers of the message of salvation. As such, God permits them to meet together and gives them community. Their fellowship is founded solely upon Jesus Christ and this alien righteousness. Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Life Together, circa 1940; excerpted from The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGuinn copyright 2006 by Random House, Inc.
Watching Over the Souls of Loved Ones Now, thoroughly convinced that their husband and father was indeed going quite mad, they sought to drive his affliction away by treating him with the utmost hardness and disrespect. Sometimes they would scold him, sometimes mock and mimic him. At other times they would totally ignore him. But, as you well know, this it no way to treat a soul in distress. Not only did it fail to help him, it actually added to his burden because he now began to fear all the more for his family s salvation. This added burden of worry drove him more often than ever to his chamber where he would pray for their souls as well as his own. At other times he would walk all alone in the fields, sometimes reading from his book, and sometimes praying. And thus for many a day did he spend his time. John Bunyan – The New Amplified Pilgrims Progress, circa 1660; Adapted by Jim Pappas, Jr. © 1999 Orion s Gate
The Short Cuts Will Cost You I know you want to see the road ahead rather than trusting God. If you continue this way, the road will get longer and your spiritual progress will slow down. Fenelon – The Seeking Heart, circa 1690, copyright Christian Books Publishing House
Prayer Just Do It! This is the only way we can ever learn to pray, by just beginning to do it. Prayer will teach us how to pray, and the more we pray, the more we will learn the mysteries of the heights and depths of prayer. A. B. Simpson – The Life of Prayer – circa 1890, © 2007 Bridge-Logos
Money Worship, the Cruel Task Master Notice the peril of the Christian who is falling under the sway of covetousness, which the apostle Paul calls idolatry (see Colossians 3:5 and Ephesians 5:5). At the end of the process, be it longer or shorter, he will renounce entirely the service of God and become the slave of moneymaking. The slightest acquaintance with commercial circles gives evidence of the tyranny mammon, which compels its slaves to toil day and night; demands the sacrifice of love and health, of home enjoyments and natural pleasure; insists that every interest shall be subordinate to its all-consuming service; and at the end of life casts it devoted, bankrupt, and penniless upon the shores of eternity. Let us not take this choice lightly, for we face it nearly every day. And the choice we make will have repercussions through eternity. F. B. Meyer – The Best of F. B. Meyer, circa 1910, © 2006 Cook Communications Ministries
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